Uttar Pradesh is also known as the cradle of Buddism. Siddharth was born in Lumbinin in Nepal but he spent his early days in Piprahwa and touched by his early experiences set out in search of truth. Gorakhpur is an important city in the north eastern Uttar Paradesh forming an idal base for excursions to the neighbouring Buddist sites in India in India and the adjoining Nepal.
Sravasti 195 kms from Gorakhpur id where Buddha performed a miracle besides spending 27 rainy seasons preaching his gospels. Emperor Ashoka marked his pilgrimage to Srasvasti by building two pillars the ruins of which lie at the eastern gate of Jetavana.
The Buddha passed into Maha Parinivana at Kushinagar, 53 kms east of Gorakhpur. The Mukta bandhana stupa is said to have built to preserve the Buddha's relics. The Nirvana temple enshrines a colossal reclining statue of the Buddha. Sarnath is 10 km from the holy city of Varanasi, and is an exceedingly tranqiuil place. The ruins, the museum and temple are all within walking distance.
Siddhartha after receiving enlightnment at Gaya travelled to Sarnath and camped at the deer park to preach his first sermon. Ashok who converted to Buddhism in the 3rd century BC raised his famous pillar here inscribed with his edicts. An imposing structure is the 5th century A.D Dharmek Stupa marking the place where Buddha first proclaimed his faith.
Places to see
Chaukhandi is the first monument one encounters as one enters Sanath. It is a lofty mound of brick –work whose square endifice is surrounded by a octagonal tower. Originally said to built by Emperor Ashoka.
The most remarkable structure at Sarnath, is the cylindrical Dhamek Stupa, 28 mts in diameter at the base and 43.6 mts in height, built partly of stone and partly of brick. The stone facing the lower part is adorned with delicate floral carvings of Gupta origin.
Sarnath yielded a rich collection of sculptures comprising numerous Buddha and Bodhisattva images.